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Nicona and New American Farmers
free show!


5pm: The Shadow Mountain Band 8pm NOCONA + NEW AMERICAN FARMERS free

July 27, 2013

Before they came together in 2012 as NOCONA,

husband-and-wife team, Chris and Adrienne Isom, along with charismatic

southern-native, Annie Rothschild, were 3/4’s of the LA based

Roots-Folk-Punk band Paladino, who ended their time together playing the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Longtime friend and accomplished drummer, Justin Smith (Old Californio, The Seeds)

joined Chris, Adrienne and Annie as NOCONA, now an energetic

Americana-Rock group that delivers a free spirited attitude, up-tempo

tunes and infectious hooks that are brimming with heartfelt emotion and

honesty, penned by songwriter Chris Isom. The band’s fine-tuned

dynamics and solid technical skills, raises the bar from their previous

work, resulting in the 10 well-crafted, wide-ranging tracks featured on

their self-titled debut, NOCONA.

“The project developed quickly,” says Chris. ” There were just a lot

of things I was working out on my own and sometimes you just have to

steamroll through this stuff. I thought it would be fun for all of us to

work together.”

A music veteran, Chris spent time playing in NYC Anti-Folk/Art-Punk bands Mooney Suzuki and The Adam Green Band

which adds to NOCONA’S diverse sound, incorporating punk and

underground into their Country-Rock . The name NOCONA, is a nod to

Chris’ Texas roots. “Nocona is the area in Texas where my Mom’s family

originally lived; it comes from the Comanche word for Wanderers or

Travelers.” Chris’ mom, even has ties to music history, once playing the

role of tutor to Joe B. Mauldin of Buddy Holly and The Crickets.

The influence of 1950’s artists like Buddy Holly are clearly heard on

NOCONA’S debut album and they remind listeners that it was that

marriage between early American rock ‘n’ roll along with a youthful,

rebellious and socially conscious mindset that brought about the whole

punk movement of the late 1970s. NOCONA who do well in evolving that

sound and spirit, take things one step further by drawing on psychedelic

bands like the 13th Floor Elevators and Love, along with the

California twang of Buck Owens and Gram Parsons, crossed with the

Outlaw Country of Johnny Cash. The mix of these varied musical tastes,

comes together to bring a distinct style that takes risks and delivers a

sound unlike any other artists today.

“This is the first music I’ve written that’s free from a lot of the

artistic hang ups that have stifled my writing in the past,” says

Chris. “I’ve let go and just accepted the process, and sometimes that

means exploring melodies and lyrics that used to be too personal for me

to share with anyone. Other times, it means just shutting up and

rocking the fuck out,” says Chris.

Over the past year, NOCONA has been hard at work and recently

finished their first full-length album, which was recorded at Kevin

Jarvis’s Sonic Boom Room studio in Venice, California. Their first

single, “Brimstone,” is one of the mellower tracks on the album,

but has a steady movement that features driving acoustic blues riffs and

harmonica along with an engaging boy/girl sung verse that is filled

with honesty as the dialogue candidly tells the story of Chris and

Adrienne’s marriage.

Adding to the eclectic sound on NOCONA, is the work of renowned pedal steel guitarist, Greg Leisz (Emmylou Harris, Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton),

a friend of Annie’s. “When I played the material for him, he was

excited and I was overjoyed that he was willing to share his genius,”

she says.

Paul Knowles and Nicole Storto are New American Farmers, a country-tinged duo currently based in Berkeley, CA. Formerly known as Mars, Arizonathey have reinvented themselves with the new full-length Brand New Day. The Byrds are a huge influence, but there is room for some college rock as well (Open Arms) and pub rock pops up during Hypocrite. There’s

a pleasant sort of disorientation that comes with listening to New

American Farmers’ Brand New Day. There are a number of times throughout

the album’s 11 tracks when your head’s going to snap around and your

brain’s going to tell you that you know that song – even though it’s the

first time you’ve ever heard it.


off the bat, “Everywhere” frigs with you in the nicest of ways: the

grinning banjo bounce and the easy glide of the harmony vocals are as

vintage Byrds as The Byrds could be – not an imitation, you understand,

but that vibe … Of course, some of that can’t help but happen: that’s

the legendary Gene Parsons playing that banjo, boys and girls – a

Byrdman himself from ‘68 to ’72. But those harmonies? Those are straight

from the throats and hearts of New American Farmers’ core duo, Paul

Michael Knowles and Nicole Storto. Vocal weaves like this are a gift to

hear; Storto and Knowles dole ‘em out left and right all through Brand

New Day.


brain-benders include the title track, which combines George

Harrison-style slide guitar with lyrics that could have come out of John

Hiatt’s little spiral notebook. (That would be David Walker on the

sweet slide, by the way.) “Hypocrite” sets its hooks in you early à la

All Shook Down -era Replacements with smart smart-ass lyrics and rocking

swagger. Was “Open Arms” originally on T Rex’s Electric Warrior –

wild-ass guitar squall and all? Nope: it’s a Great American Farmers

original. “Good And Sober” takes a shimmering chicka-boom Johnny Cash

rhythm and a big helping of them aforementioned harmonies and makes

getting straightened out seem like a decent option.


then there’s “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head”, which is a cover – of a

Jeff Lynne tune, whose Electric Light Orchestra made a living in the 70s

and 80s pondering the possibilities of what might have come of the

Beatles and Phil Spector getting really weird together. Here, however,

the Farmers keep it simple and tasty.In the end, it matters not if

you’re too young to understand any of the references above. Knowles and

Storto are simply excellent song crafters – and even though they’re

working with a revolving cast of players throughout Brand New Day, the

album has a cohesive feel throughout.


short, it’s apparent that Knowles and Storto can crank out just about

any sort of tune that they have a mind to. And luckily for us they’ve

captured a bunch of them on Brand New Day.

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